ONE of the great assets at the heart of our community is our wonderful local canals. They provide fantastic opportunities for walking, cycling and other relaxing activities and many of us take great pleasure from using them.

They aren’t cheap to maintain and the cost of doing so rises every year. The organisation that manages them is called the Canal and River Trust and those cost pressures have left it struggling to maintain the canals properly and to respond effectively to concerns raised by users about equipment, facilities and even leaks.

Which makes it particularly strange that the government has decided to cut their budget by five per cent every year with no provision for inflation. Apparently the government wants to challenge the Trust to raise more money from other sources.

There are, of course, few organisations which can’t achieve some efficiency savings and which shouldn’t be taking opportunities to raise revenues when they can reasonably do so. There are even fewer organisations which can cope with seeing their most reliable source of revenue gradually cut in half in real terms.

Our community is at risk of seeing one of its most valued facilities decline into neglect because of a decision taken many miles away by people who have little understanding of the practicalities of running the network of canals that so many of us enjoy.

Good government is of course about making difficult choices. This feels like a very bad choice made by a very bad government which can’t even afford to maintain assets that the local community values.


Councillor Andy Brown (Green Party)